Here is a picture of Bei with his new table and chairs that was given to him by our friend Terrie. Her grandfather had made it for her children and he recently passed away, she loved the idea of it being put back to use. Bei loved it right away, children are drawn to small things like themselves. (By the way, ignore the toy clutter...)
Today Bei went to his first birthday party, and he did very well. And he got up close and personal to two different big dogs today and did well. I'll definitely have to teach him that all dogs are not the same, because he doesn't seem to have a fear of them and I almost wish he did.
One of the first day's that we were home he had a tantrum down the street because I wouldn't let one of the neighbor dogs eat his face off. He saw the dogs as we were walking and wanted to run to them and I don't know anything about the dogs, so I wouldn't let him near them...tantrum!
On Monday, we go to the Pediatric Cardiologist for an echocardiogram and a consultation.
The assessment is that Bei is a genius, but is a little skinny, only 19 lbs. So, we are on a mission to fatten him up.
One of the primary messages that Dr. Kang was adamant about was that Dan and I should be his only primary caregivers. Basically, she said that people can come and play with him, but should not give him anything unless Dan and I give permission, along with no holding, picking him up, consoling, so basically hands off. It should come to the point, where is is looking to Dan and I, if a new person is introduced to see if he can approach them and then seek our permission.
This is aligned with everything we have read about adopting an older child from an institution. Bei needs to know that we alone are his primary caregivers, because he is from an institution, he has had multiple caregivers, some that he has probably bonded with and then they left him. He needs to know that we are his permanent forever primary caregivers and nobody else. She said it is alot of work and hard to do, but it is about his future and making sure he makes the attachment and bonding to us.
My new analogy is that bonding is similar to a tree; if you have two tree's side by side that are two years old, one that was planted as a seedling and one that was just planted that month, they both may look healthy and appear the same. However, if you look underneath at the roots, the tree that was planted as a seedling would have deep strong roots, the one planted that month may have damaged roots and is not yet firmly planted deep into the soil. So Dan and I are the soil and Bei is the tree that was just planted. You get the picture and I'll stop with all the stupid analogies.
It is hard and somewhat stressful for us to implement this because we so appreciate everyone's overwhelming support and then to have to turn around and say thanks for all the prayers, gifts, emails and overall support, but you can't engage with Bei like you would a normal child is difficult. We hope you all understand that we are following the advice of research of institutional children and what our pediatrician is telling us. It is all for the good of Bei in the long term.
Here are a few tips that Dr. Kang suggested when others are interacting with Bei.
- If you have a gift for Bei, please allow us to give it to him. We will say, "here is a gift from Auntie J and she is giving it to you" as we give it to him.
- If he asks you to put on his coat, we ask that you would redirect him and say there is Mamma, she'll put on your coat.
- If he falls you can pick him up, but then redirect him to Daddy, because he will make it better.
- If he wants to be picked up by you, please redirect him to Dan or I.
- You get the picture...
Hope you all understand and still support us!
He also loves to go to the park and play on the slide.
Bei finally got 10 hours of sleep and he was a pistol all day. Go figure, he only gets 8 hours and he is fine, 10 puts him over the edge. I figure the jet lag is finally catching up with him.
Now that we are home, Bei decided to sleep on top of me again. I can't imagine he finds my boney body comfortable, but somehow he manages to fall asleep. Last night, he slept next to me, he is really making strides. Every night when we go to bed, he grabs my face and kisses me unsolicited about 5 times. It is hard to believe he was in an orphanage. Dan and I are just awed and amazed and keep saying that God has been incredibly good to us!!
This morning I slipped out of bed around 6:00 a.m. to take a shower. Boy, the simple pleasures in life, like putting on deodorant take on an entire new meaning now. When someone is completely dependent on you, it really limits your own personal hygiene. Anyway, Bei woke up without me next to him and he didn't have a complete meltdown. Since his grieving day (May 9th), I have always stayed with him to ensure that he wakes up to me and it seemed to eliminate his meltdowns after he woke up. He let Dan feed him this morning and even went to him several times for Dan to carry him. Yeah!!! Maybe, I'll even get to wear make-up soon!!!
Another huge victory for us today was a ride in the truck using the car seat! We were dreading having to deal with putting him in the car seat since he wants to sit on my lap all the time, but he sat in there like a champ!
I'll close with one last cute story about Bei and his bugar picking. When we were in China we would be pushing him in his stroller and all of a sudden his little hand would go straight up in the air and his pointer finger would go straight up. He wouldn't look up or anything, he just knew we would clean the finger off. Well, he does that when he takes his nap, he'll spend 10 minutes picking his nose and each time his little finger comes out and he wants it wiped clean. All the kids from the Suzhou orphanage were the same way with their nose picking. So I have this image in my head of all these little children being laid down for their naps and the nanny running from crib to crib wiping tiny little bugar fingers. I have a hard time keeping up with his busy nose picking schedule, so I can't imagine 40 little ones doing the same thing at the same time. Once he grasps the English language, we'll have a little discussion about the proper etiquette of cleaning ones nose, but until then you'll probably see him pick his nose.
I promise that Dan will get some video's out!!
We had a big victory today with Bei. He would always want to sit on my lap when he ate, well Dan assembled his booster chair today and lo and behold the kid loved being in the chair!! He sat their for an hour playing with his Cheerios! Yeah for us!!!
When Bei came into our home for the first time it seemed he had been here his whole life. He immediately began playing with the toys in his room and became his normal giggly self! He found Reggie's old toys and added them to his toy pile in his bedroom (we have since removed those toys due to dog wear and tear!). Bei explored all the rooms and then settled in for a snack. We felt he was saying, yes this is my place and what took you guys so long to get me here!
We are hunkering down for the next few weeks and trying to get Bei acclimated to his new life. We know that people are dying to come to meet him, people are welcome to come for a short visit, however, we ask that everyone respect the fact that we are still bonding with him. So we are asking people to act as if they are visiting the zoo and follow three simple rules:
1. Don't pick up the animals.
2. Don't try to feed the animals
3. Don't try to comfort and hug the animals.
The books that we have read have indicated that this is a critical time for us to bond with Bei and we need to be his sole primary caregivers. The past three days in China, Bei really starting bonding with Dan, so we really want to keep that momentum going for the both of them. Dan was phenomenal on the flight, he entertained Bei almost the entire trip. We had a flight attendant stop us at the airport and ask us, "Was he the little guy that was giggling the entire flight"? He was champ!!
One last thing, please be aware that due to his heart condition Bei has had no immunizations, so if there is anything that you could potentially carry to him, please wait til you are over it.
Dan will post a video of his reaction to his new home very soon.
Thanks again everyone for your support, we feel very blessed to have such a supportive group!
Just a FYI, there is a new post dated on May 10th if you want to read it. I started it at that time, so it published it at that date rather than today. Thanks again for all the emails, we love hearing from each and everyone one of you.
Dan and I both are very ready to come home!!!
If you want to know more about Lilly please go to johnandpamelablock.blogspot.com.
Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers.
Overall, Bei is opening up more in public and he is more comfortable in group settings. Today we had fun in the pool for the second day in a row and he actually left Mama's lap and walked around in the pool and played. We're thinking tomorrow he will be swimming!
We also want to thank everyone again for the wonderful emails, thoughts, and prayers. We are getting the emails but still are failing on our sends. Please watch the blog for updates.
Dan, Liz, and Bei.
We are skipping all the optional tours and only attend the mandatory official meetings. We think it is really important to spend the time with Bei and try to keep as much of a routine as possible for him. Now, is not the time for us to be touring China. Today is Bei's Medical Examination, we went at 9:00 a.m. but they told us to come back in the afternoon because they had a few emergencies and the place was a zoo. So we are glad that didn't ask us to wait. I really encourage everybody to visit, because it is so steeped in rich history and culture. Unfortunately, with the globalization of the world, the culture may be lost. .
To my sister Nanette, we are staying at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China. We are in room 2622.
I will post pictures and video's after Dan the Man, techno master uploads them to the computer.
I was ravenous by the time we got to Guangzhou, in Nanjing we would feed Bei, Dan would eat and it would be time to go because Bei was so antsy...notice anything missing?? Yes, I never got to eat, so I would shovel a few spoonfuls of rice in my mouth as we left the table. As I mentioned, I was so famished by the time we got to Guangzhou, so we went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant. I saw my window of opportunity, Bei was distracted and their was a full plate of fried noodles sitting in front of me. I started shoveling it in my mouth like there was no tomorrow and all of sudden Jen (Bei's girlfriend mom) said hey, look at poor Bei Bei. He was holding his arm up like a shield, he had fried noodles all down his face and a big pile of noodles on his head. He reached out for Dan and wanted to get away from me. I figure it was a bonding moment for them. In the beginning Jen who has three kids teased me alot and kept telling Bei, "Bei Bei, don't worry, I'll sew my phone number into your clothes so that you can call me, if these two nuts don't get it together." She meant it all in fun...at least I think, we definitely have had alot of laughs along the way.
One last cute story before Bei wakes up from his nap. At night I would lay Bei in the middle of the King size bed and Dan and I would lay on either side. That worked for about 4 days and then he started getting restless and I couldn't figure out what he wanted. Two nights ago, he finally came and laid right next to me, grabbed my arm and wrapped it around him. It is kind of like he was saying, "Come on woman, get it right, I've been in an orphanage for a year, where is the love??" So now, we fall asleep to me spooning him in my arms. He is like waking up to a real live China doll. He is so beautiful. He woke Dan up the other morning by rubbing his feet on Dan's beard and moustache...hey dad, thanks for exfoliating my feet! He is such a cutie!
The really good news is that we are feeling like we are settling into a routine with Bei and each other. Not only is it a new experience to have a child, it is an experience and journey to figure out how to parent together. We feel like we are communicating well and figuring out our roles and responsibilities to one another...Dan does all the work and I sit around and hold Bei...it works well...just kidding...okay, there is some truth in it, but man is Dan a good worker! He definitely was raised correctly when it comes to work. No whining either...he is a good man.
I better go before Bei wakes up, we think he has separation anxiety and needs to see me right away or he gets out of sorts and is inconsolable for some time.
Love ya all!
On May 9th we were invited to visit the Suzhou orphanage along with two of the other families, but we decided to fore-go the tour due to our physical and emotional exhaustion. It turned out to be the right decision for us, because Bei appeared to be grieving the entire day. He basically cried from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It was very hard to watch and I really didn't know what to do except to comfort him. It just breaks my heart that he has to experience any of this, but we will work through it with him. As I've mentioned previously, he has quite extreme tantrums which we guess have to do with his abandonment issues. Once I get home, I'll put on my investigation cap, to find out the best way to help him work through his issues. Until then, I'll focus on stability, consistency and lots and lots of love.
At some point in Bei's life he must have received alot of tender loving care because he is such a loving little guy. Today, he threw a short little tantrum and he ended up crawling on my lap still sobbing and then turned to me and kissed me on the lips and held my face. In the morning he likes to be cuddled and be held before he starts moving around and at night he likes to be rocked to sleep. The other Suzhou mom's both told me their children don't like to be touched when going to bed, so my assumption is that Bei's family loved him and nurtured him very well the first year of life and for medical reasons made the most difficult decision of their life. Additionally, I'm very impressed with the care that the children from the Suzhou orphanage received when compared to some of the children from the other orphanages. It is obvious that they were well cared for and stimulated.
So today, we started the last leg of our trip, we are in Guangzhou where we meet with the American Consulate. In the mornings we will conduct whatever official business needs to be completed and have our afternoons to spend with Bei bonding.
I took this video the day prior to his grieving day. I went to change Bei's diaper and as usual he started to laugh and giggle, so I captured his very fun personality on video. Hope you enjoy it!!
I'll start with the Video, this is another Suzhou sweetie. As you can see Bei has gotten it into his head that his friend Sarah (formerly called Doe Doe) wanted some Cheerios and raisins. And being the gentlemen that he is, he thought he would force feed her. It was obvious that these two know each other. They would say a few words to one another. Bei is extremely shy around all the other families but is willing to be himself around this family. I think it helps that he knew Doe Doe previously. We'll definitely stay in touch with them.
Remember how the growth reports described Bei's personality? Shy, Timid, Introverted and Obstinate. Holy Buckets, they should have capitalized OBSTINATE. A better description would have been over-indulged little emperor. He had three tantrums before we left this morning for our tour of the park at 9:00 a.m. He will accept no, unless he already has his hands on something. For example, I was feeding him his congee (rice porridge) and he was helping me by holding the coffee mug handle and spoon feeding himself...you can just imagine how helpful it was to me. Anyway, Doe Doe's (Bei's new girlfriend) family was at the door knocking so I wanted to put the congee down, therefore I wanted Bei to let go so he wouldn't dump it all over the couch. Huge tantrum!!! But the surprising thing is when I give him what he wants he doesn't tantrum or cry, I just have to deal with a huge mess. Anyway, I figure you should all see us on Super Nanny by the fall.
Honestly, he is a great kid, but he is two years old.
Today has been a great day for Dan! He finally was claimed by Bei. Bei awoke from his nap and was inconsolable. Dan picked him up and tried to console him and then gave him to me. I still couldn't console him, so I laid him on the bed and then Dan talked really soothing to him in his deep rumbling Johnny Cash voice and the next thing we knew he was reaching out his arms to Dan to hold him. Dan held him and cuddled him for a long time. It was really heartwarming and I could tell Dan was really pleased.
Another biggee, is that Bei gave Dan at least 5 kisses today. It is so nice that they are bonding and that Bei is willing to go to him, because it gets to be alot when you are the sole caretaker, even though we have Dan running around like a maid.
Another big thing that happened today is that we went to the park today for a few hours. Bei loves to push his stroller. I was helping to guide the stroller and he was babbling and all of a sudden our guide Michelle smiled and started talking to him. She told me Bei said "Mom, this is mine". I was so delighted, I asked if he really said Mom and she said yes that is exactly what he said! I was tickled pink!!! I realize now that I never asked Michelle what she said back to him. Bei talks often but I hadn't given it much thought since he is only two. I wish we could spend more time with Michelle and she could tell me what he is saying. Fortunately, we don't seem to have any problem communicating, he snaps his fingers and Dan and I run...or at least Dan is at the moment. I started repeating the Chinese words that he says and sometimes I get a smile from him. Dan said I should give it up because I have a tin ear, linguistics is definitely not my strength.
As I laid in bed holding Bei's hand thinking about how incredibly lucky we are to have this really loving child in our life, I realized I forgot to mention the most important thing that happened yesterday before the meltdown, I received 4 kisses from Bei and they were all unsolicited. I'm kissing him constantly and he seems to love it, so I think he has the concept down.
Anyway, when he and Dan were playing Choo Choo's in the morning, I came into the room and he looked at me and pursed his lips like he sent me a kiss. I kind of dismissed it because I thought it was more wishful thinking on my part. Later on, we were sitting on the couch and he was eating his Cheerios and feeding them to me and he was studying my face and got real close and put his mouth on mine, his mouth was open in a big O, but it still was kiss. He did several other times in the morning. Then he tried to slip a Cheerio in my mouth when he did it...okay, son I'm crazy in love with you but that is going a little over the top. I cracked up laughing and he did too. He really loves to laugh and smile.
He is such a different kid with Dan and I then when we are with the group, he is so happy when it is just the three of us and so darn serious when we are with others. To me it is just a miracle that this super shy introverted child has bonded with Dan and I from the beginning. How did he decide, yep you two are okay and not turn inward like he does? It all feels so much bigger than ourselves and I feel that I owe God a big one after this. When I think about what a loving little boy he is and how much he loves to be held and cuddled, it just makes me get emotional.
Dan whispered to me this morning that Bei held his hand all night long. We are so incredibly fortunate that not only did we get a kid that needs love but wants to give it back. This journey has just been amazing and far exceeds any of my expectations. We truly got the perfect child for Dan and I.
Bei Bei and I waiting in the Civil Affairs office. His orphanage directors were there and came to him and he wanted nothing to do with them. Several of the other little girls cried and held out their arms and wanted to be held by them. I'm so grateful that Bei is bonding so well with us.
We officially named our son Daniel Bei Krueger, but we are calling him Bei or Bei Bei. I just can't express to you what a wonderful child he is! Perhaps, we are in the honeymoon stage with one another but it has been a GREAT honeymoon. He is so mild manner, it is really hard to rattle his cage. Believe me, we are trying not to, he just wants to be held and cuddled and he loves to laugh and make others laugh. It just all feels so right, like he is ours and was always meant to be ours.
Today we went to the Civil Affairs office to make Bei officially ours! We came back and ate lunch and then we all took a nap! Bei wanted to sleep on top of me and of course, I let him. He is a lover. We all needed to take a nap because Dan spent all night working on getting the video's working and we have had such computer problems. So he was exhausted, as well as Bei and I since he wants to be held all the time by me. I told one of the other mothers that I was concerned that Bei couldn't walk and she reminded me that we watched him walk in from the van. So the little guy is sand bagging me, but I love it! Dan and I had our first poopie diaper, we learned a few lessons, don't start the changing process until you have everything ready, like a fresh diaper, wipes, etc. Bei was looking at us like he was adopted by Bozo the Clowns :-) Some, of the other first this afternoon is that we have been fully examined by Bei. Bei has noticed that Dan is a big hairy american, he pulled his whiskers and then noticed his arm hair. He looked up both of our noses and we must of passed the inspection. Plus, he wanted to pull a scab off of my arm. His touch is very gentle and he hasn't been aggressive in any way. You can tell he is exploring. He is very funny about being clean. If he gets anything on his hands, he wants us to wipe it immediately. It seems that all the children from the Suzhou orphanage are similarly clean. Tonight, we gave him a bath and then laid him down for bed. He was exhausted and for the first time didn't want me to hold him. I laid next to him and he would touch me, but if I touched back he would pull away. Everything is on his terms at the moment and that is fine. He is the GREATEST kid!! One last thing, he is super teeny tiny, which I knew but I guess I didn't realize he would be in 12 month clothes. So we brought 18 month clothes and the pants are swimming on him, but Dan is really good with the safety pins that I brought and we are pinning his clothes up. Well, it is getting late, so I'm going to sign off.
Thanks again to everyone emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We enjoy receiving your emails and wish that we could email back but haven't figured it out or had the time to do it.
We are so blessed!!!
As our caption states, we hit the Chinese Jackpot!! Bei is everything I thought he would be and much more. He truly is wonderful and feels like he is meant to be our child. First impressions of him are that he is extremely stoic, curious, loving and happy. He is yearning to be loved, wants to be hugged and cuddled and seeks out his daddy's approval.
We arrived at the Civil Affairs office in Nanjing at 2:00 p.m. Clients from another adoption agency were already there receiving their babies. Immediately, some of our group received their children because they had come from other orphanages. The process was very informal, as parents identified their child, they would walk up to them and start engaging them in activities with soothing voices. The Suzhou children still had not arrived, so we waited and shared in the joy of the other parents. Personally, I was very quiet and sat on the couch and just watched because I wanted to keep my emotions in check. Our guide had suggested that we all try to be 'Chinese' and control our emotions for the sake of the children. I felt very emotional, so it was hard for me not to cry. Finally the Suzhou children were spied coming into the building. There were two little girls and then Bei, he looked very bewildered. As he walked past our window he looked straight at me and I waved and said hi Bei, Bei. It was a split second in time but I know he saw me and we were connected.
By the time he came into the room, he was in the nannies arms. I moved over so she could sit by him us and help transition him, like I saw the other nannies from the other orphanages do with the other families. Instead, she put him on the couch and walked away. Dan and I offered him treats and he stoically looked at us and just took everything in. After about 5 minutes he started to whine, so I grabbed him and put him on my lap. He immediately nestled his little body into the curvature of my body. He still wouldn't smile or laugh but he was content.
We ended up going to a store and I held him the entire time. As we waited for other parents Dan brought a ball out and he and Dan played ball. He still wasn't smiling but in all that time he never cried once.
We came back to the hotel and he sat on my lap and played cars and ball with his daddy. It really took him no time to warm up to Dan with smiles and laughing, but always sitting on my lap. He fell asleep in my arms and I held him a long time afterward, he so wants to be held, you can feel it. Right now, I'm his security but we are hoping that he will let Dan hold him today.
He is so very loved and I can't wait til he wakes up today to find out more about him. He slept with us and will continue to as the hotel has no cribs.
Love you all, thank you for the support, prayers and well wishes.